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Regime should be referred to ICHR

Mar 2, 2009 (DVB), Burma’s government should be referred to the International Court of Human Rights for human rights abuses following Cyclone Nargis, the first independent report of the regime's response to the disaster states.

After the Storm: Voices from the Delta, released on 27 February, says the State Peace and Development Council obstructed relief to victims of the cyclone, arrested aid workers and severely restrained accurate information following the cyclone.

"The Burmese military regime confiscated aid supplies and land, and used forced labor, including forced child labor, in its reconstruction efforts," said Professor Chris Beyrer, Director of the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The report was jointly released by the Center for Public Health and Human Rights of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Emergency Assistance Team , Burma.

The report charges these abuses may constitute crimes against humanity through the creation of conditions whereby the basic survival needs of victims could not be adequately met.

The government continues to deny aid to some of the areas most affected by the cyclone.

A cyclone refugee in Laputta township said on Sunday that the authorities there are keeping most of the donated aid for themselves instead of redistributing it.

"They only did a brief work in reconstructing our homes , just enough to show them in news photos , and the rest, the locals had to do their own and pay all the expenses," he said.

Incidences of abuses continually surface.

In January this year locals from Natsinchaung village, Zeegone township, reported being forced to carry cement for reconstruction work on a cyclone damaged school. Those who could not were ordered to pay 5000 kyat.

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw

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